Planning for Community Resiliency
In January of 2020, the City of Westfield was awarded $35,000 from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to complete the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Planning Process, which includes an assessment of community vulnerability to climate change impacts and identification of priority actions to improve community resiliency.
Tighe & Bond’s team of certified MVP providers, GIS analysts, and planners worked with the City’s Planning Staff and Community Core Team to implement the Community Resilience Building workshop process to perform stakeholder and community engagement, climate change and natural hazard risk and vulnerability assessments, and development of a report summarizing the key findings, culminating in the City’s designation as an MVP Certified Community now eligible for MVP Action Grant funding.
EEA’s MVP program defines a specific process each community must follow to obtain the MVP Community Designation and become available for future MVP Action grant funding.
As part of the Community Resilience Building workshop process, Tighe & Bond conducted key stakeholder interviews, developed MVP and climate change outreach materials, and served as lead presenters and facilitators during four stakeholder workshops. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Tighe & Bond pivoted to a virtual public engagement strategy utilizing virtual Core Team meetings, a project-specific Sharepoint site created by Tighe & Bond to provide an online space for MVP materials such as a prerecorded climate change introduction presentation, GIS maps of key community features and potential natural hazard/climate change risks, and survey questionnaires with the Core Team and public, and holding workshops via Microsoft Teams webinars that were recorded for later viewing. The virtual public engagement plan was developed to allow for participation from key stakeholders and vulnerable populations to result in equitable engagement within the MVP process.
Tighe & Bond’s approach took advantage of the overlap between the MVP and Hazard Mitigation Planning (HMP) process to develop an MVP summary of findings report that built on the previous HMP, incorporating state climate change data, updating the inventory of community assets to include natural resources and assets identified as strengths and weaknesses during the CRB workshops, and summarizing priority mitigation actions identified during the workshops with a focus on improving the resiliency of Westfield to adapt to a changing climate.
Tighe & Bond provided planning services to the City of Westfield during the city’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Planning Process. Tighe & Bond conducted community outreach, including adapting to a virtual engagement strategy following the COVID-19 crisis.